TRAKKA TRAKKAWAY 700 MOTORHOME
Straight from the factory floor, the Trakka Trakkaway 700 makes its eagerly-awaited debut.
· Fiat Ducato-based motorhome
· Fitted with rear wall slide-out
· 7m (22ft 11in) in length
· Two berth but seats four
· Fully-equipped for remote camping
For some months, Trakka's Dave Berry has been dropping hints that something new and interesting was being developed. The Trakkaway 700 has finally emerged from the factory and on first, as well as second and third, glance, it's been worth the wait.
Trakka's coach-built motorhomes have generally had two characteristics: a distinctive, moulded Luton peak and no slide-out. The 700's front is swept back at an angle and it has a rear wall slide-out.
Trakka has used the tried and trusty Fiat Ducato for the base vehicle. The Multijet 180 model comes attached to an Al-Ko chassis fitted with Al-Ko's Level Controller (ALC). The ALC is used instead of a conventional shock absorber, automatically setting the level of the motorhome. It's not airbag suspension, which relies on an external air source, but one which uses vehicle motion to power an internal oil/gas system.
Not surprisingly, the Trakkaway 700's body fits the Ducato very well. A close look at the fibreglass reveals a number of complex curves where areas such as the roof are curved both fore and aft and to the sides. This not only makes for a better looking motorhome but it has practical value as well - rainwater runs off the roof and the mouldings on the rear wall act as a rainwater retrieval system. Those same rear mouldings are curved inwards, not only improving the airflow but preventing the boxy look that's common in many motorhome designs.
The rear slide-out, which is not full height, is incredibly smooth and quiet. Like the rest of the motorhome, the slide-out has complex curves for design and sealing purposes and it also has curved corners on the external corners - so there are no sharp edges to bump your head on.
The slide-out gives the 700 an external length of just under 7m but it has enough space inside for a full island bed, without squashing too much of the living area.
The 7m length is certainly an asset for those who don't like to drive a long motorhome and I found this a particular advantage on my test drive. From the Trakka factory, I planned a short trip to Wisemans Ferry, north-west of Sydney. For those not familiar with this area, there are a number of hair-pin bends, as well as steep descents and ascents, so both the 7m length and the 132kW/400Nm turbodiesel engine were well tested. Incidentally, the 180 Multijet version of the Ducato is only available in Australia in motorhome form. Delivery truck and van operators have to put up with the lesser 109kW/350Nm 150 Multijet model.
At Wisemans Ferry, there are plenty of accommodation options. There are two caravan parks, including the excellent Del Rio Riverside Resort, which has full river frontage, and the Mill Creek camping area in the Dharug National Park. I headed for the latter, which offers very basic facilities but with the fully-equipped Trakkaway 700 that wasn't really a problem.
Inside the motorhome you will find a front lounge/dining area, a mid-offside kitchen, mid-nearside bathroom and the bedroom in the rear, incorporating the slide-out. Decor is in the traditional Trakka style with some new grey roller shutter doors on the cupboards and overhead lockers. The Seitz hopper windows allow plenty of light into the motorhome by day and, by night, the sophisticated LED light system kicks in. That includes clever blue/violet strip lights, which are concealed in various places. These are perfect for romantic effect - or a night light, depending on your point of view.
Trakka has retained the Ducato cab with its motorhome cut-out and swivelling cab seats. The seats integrate with a two-person seat on the offside to form a simple lounge/dining area. There are two tables - a hinged table on the wall that's quick to set up and ideal for drinks, and a larger table mounted on a Zwaardvis frame. The latter is stored in the bedroom along the nearside wall.
The motorhome's floor is stepped so all the seats are at the same level. Filling the area behind the passenger seat is a small cabinet with a pole-mounted TV above. That arrangement gives both a solid mounting for the TV and one with a variable height. But the TV has to be in the low position so it's possible to see out of the window behind. Overhead lockers of various sizes all provide useful storage space and I particularly liked the above-cab units for stashing day-use items.
Immediately above the cab seats, a forward-facing curved hatch has been fitted. It comes with an integrated blind and insect screen and can be left open when driving because it is hinged at the front. There's nothing like a bit of fresh airflow when driving, I always think.
Several Trakka motorhomes feature an L-shaped kitchen but the 700 has a straight bench, which comes with a Webasto diesel-fired cooktop, a round stainless steel sink, and a Waeco 136L 12V compressor fridge. Diesel cooktops feature in quite a few Trakka motorhomes and is standard for this model. Although they work quite well, the heating cycle is slower than a gas cooktop and I suspect impatient types (like yours truly) might find that a problem.
Kitchen drawer space is excellent and although there are three overhead lockers above the kitchen bench, only one is free for items like cups and plates. The other two contain the microwave and the all-important control panel for electrics and heating. The combo 20L water heater unit takes up the external bin at the rear offside, is diesel-fired and works on an intercooler unit.
Like most other Trakka motorhomes, the 700's bathroom is well-appointed with features and has attractive decor. It does, of course, have the Trakka-developed remote control-operated Thetford cassette toilet, too. For those not familiar with this device, the loo can be remotely moved under the washbasin and out of the way when it's not needed. It's a great little space-saving device.
A different set of buttons on that same remote control will operate the slide-out in the rear of the motorhome. It's probably a good idea not to get those two confused in the middle of the night...
The rest of the motorhome can still be used when the slide-out is closed up. Although the bed can also be used this way, it's a bit of a high clamber over the end and entry from the steps on either side is much easier. The bedroom comes fully fitted out with windows all around, cupboards, mirror and a flatscreen TV.
Although the latest in LED lighting is quite visible, the new 100Ah lithium batteries fitted to the 700 are not so obvious. These have the advantage of high capacity and constant discharge voltage, charged by mains and vehicle chargers, as well as two 135W solar panels. The new lithium batteries are quite expensive but are so good that Trakka is testing their capabilities without solar panel back-up.
THE BOTTOM LINE
I'm told that the Trakkaway 700 is already creating interest and it's not hard to see why. Apparently it is even drawing sales away from the Torino - another Trakka motorhome and Ducato van-based conversion. And that's not hard to see why either - the 700 comes with an island bed and more internal space for a similar length motorhome.
It's a well-designed rig with a rear slide-out and comes with all the usual features we have come to expect in Trakka motorhomes, as well as a few new ones. It should be a winner!
· Motorhome body design
· Rear slide-out
· LED lighting
· Well-proportioned internal layout
· Overhead locker design
I WOULD HAVE LIKED...
· Doesn't want for much but I'd really prefer a gas cooktop/grill
Originally published in Caravan World #509, December 2012.